The London-born nurse has worked at Jackson since 1998. She began at JMH, but became really active with Local 1991 when she transferred to Jackson North in 2006.
“Staffing was horrendous,” she recalls with her trademark directness. “The floating? Horrible. We tried to go through the chain of command, but it fell on deaf ears.”
Bent and a strong core group of members in the ICU got together and began pushing for improvements in working conditions and safety. They also fought to be treated equally in regards to the uniform policy that was being enforced more flexibly everywhere but North.
It took time, but Bent says that members are beginning to see changes as a result of new management that is working with members on issues such as staffing ratios.
“We are actually seeing more consistent staffing,” Bent says.
Bent has served in the past on the bargaining team. In April, she went to Washington, D.C. with a group of SEIU nurses from around the country to rally at the Supreme Court as it heard cases affecting access to affordable birth control for millions of women.
An outspoken advocate in her unit, she says that members need to understand it’s their duty as educated professionals to speak out when something isn’t right.
“It’s important to be involved,” she says. “It doesn’t make sense to complain about something and not get involved to change it. We all need to be involved and not leave it up to a handful of people.”